If the premiere was any indication, the second season of Agent Carter is going to be even more fun than the first.
Way too often the first installment was bogged down with examining how Peggy functioned in a male-dominated society content to look down on her despite being the most capable agent in the SSR. Thankfully, it appears the writers have moved on and are focused on more exciting matters like Peggy in action and less explaining to the audience how rough this time was for women. Good thing that’s changed now in 2016, huh?
Right away the action kicks off with a nice swerve as we see Peggy’s signature red hat and blue suit being used by Dottie Underwood (Bridget Regan) as she attempts a bank robbery. Peggy and the SSR set a trap for Dottie and her goons and Peggy finally has her arch rival in custody. This was a very interesting direction as it momentarily frees Peggy to handle another assignment.
Sousa (Enver Gjokaj) has been dispatched to set up the West Coast branch of the SSR. This may come as close as we get to the MCU spin on the West Coast Avengers so I dug this a lot. When a woman enclosed in ice turns up, Sousa calls Jack Thompson (Chad Michael Murray) for backup. Still soothing his bruised ego, Jack sends Peggy to handle it and promptly gets punked out by Dottie when he tries to play tough guy during her interrogation.
Since Thompson looks to be as grating as he did last year, I’ve got very little patience for his subplot despite the appearance of Kurtwood Smith as Thompson’s FBI mentor Vernon Masters. There’s talk of the SSR being phased out, which could potentially lead to the groundwork for the debut of SHIELD, but I’m not sure the show needs to link so closely to that agency at this point in the series. Maybe around Season 3 or 4?
Peggy’s trip to Hollywood has the welcome bonus of her reuniting with Jarvis (James D’Arcy), in California as Howard Stark is now getting into the movie business. I love the completely sensible randomness of Poppa Stark being a movie executive. There isn’t a better pairing in the Marvel Cinematic Universe thanks to the amazing chemistry between Atwell and D’Arcy. Their banter didn’t miss a beat. The writing as a whole was sharper with a number of great lines and exchanges. Even better was the introduction of Jarvis’ wife Ana (Lotte Verbeek), who in less than five minutes, is already one of my new favorite characters. Hopefully we’ll be seeing a lot more of her this season.
Peggy’s investigation takes her to a science lab run by Calvin Chadwick (Currie Graham), a Senatorial candidate, who was sleeping around with the ice cube victim. Graham set off all kinds of alarms for me just for his resemblance to David Morrisey’s The Governor from The Walking Dead. Chadwick’s Hollywood starlet wife, Whitney Frost (Wynn Everett) seems equally shifty and it’s confirmed when Chadwick and Frost use some pawns to unleash a weapon that slowly freezes people to death.
Peggy also comes across Jason Wilkes (Reggie Austin), a quirky scientist that takes an immediate interest in her. I’d be impressed if the show made good on this interracial relationship in this 1947 setting. Initially, I found this to be a missed opportunity for the Marvel Cinematic realm as Jason easily could have been Bill Foster aka Goliath II. Wilkes’ overly polite, unassuming nature was a little annoying, which I’m interested in learning was more his cover for his more sinister nature or a more thought-provoking glimpse at how a black man in this setting would be forced to interact with his white counterparts. I’m pretty sure him observing the mysterious substance is a red herring and he’s not in league with Chadwick and Frost.
Sousa’s awkwardness around Peggy throughout the episode thankfully gets addressed without dragging it out through the season — he’s got a girlfriend. Good on Sousa for not waiting for Peggy to get over Steve.
Rating: 9 out of 10
All in all, this was a great start to the season and The Flash now has some company on the outstanding light-hearted comic book TV front. Now on to Episode 2.
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